A Work in Progress...
It often feels odd to write about my history. Each chapter feels like a lifetime ago yet somehow they lay foundation for the whole story, which continues to evolve each day. I grew up in Minnesota, USA in a rural town of less than 5,000. Between 18 - 43, I lived in major cities of all four corners of the US: Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City. Music has always been a big love of mine, dictated much of my social life and initially directed my career, starting with booking a punk club in Seattle to being on the road for a summer tour with the Allman Brothers Band. I worked in the entertainment industry in some form or another for my entire professional life of 20 years. Most of my education about how the world works in a material sense came from my 9 years working at The New Yorker magazine as an event producer for the editorial department under the inimitable David Remnick. It seems none of this would have anything to do with where my life is now, but I'm a true believer that everything prepares you for your next step. Therefore I have tremendous appreciation for my life experiences!
People often ask me when my "spiritual" journey began. As a young woman, my desire for my own healing initiated my curiosity in spirituality around 1989. Many years later, I met my first teacher, Julie Winter, in NYC. She helped me to understand my empathic sensibility and to develop (what I learned to be) my intuition. I completed a four year psycho-spiritual therapist training called Helix in 2007. This program was based in psychology, spiritual disciplines (primarily S. American shamanism and Buddhism), energy work and metaphysics. During this time I began doing healing work with clients. Since then I have visited and studied with numerous teachers, healers and holy men and women from all over the world. I've never found one path that I fit into perfectly, or even imperfectly. I find many forms of spiritual engagement interesting and am convinced that spirituality is incredibly personal and therefore my path is customised precisely for me.
Until 2009, I continued in the business world and seeing clients for healing work on the weekends. Once I finally left the corporate world I knew I would need to leave NYC altogether but it took me a few years to take the leap. In 2012, I put my things into storage, packed 2 bags and left for an indefinite stay in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, sight unseen.
My way of life changed 100%. After 2 years of building an international clientele through word of mouth, I was asked to join the world renowned Yoga Barn as a resident "Specialist Therapist", as my visa named it. It was an amazing journey at YB doing private healing sessions, leading meditation classes and teaching workshops. I literally worked with thousands of people over 3 years. I, and my work, grew in ways I never imagined. I sat regularly with Balinese priestesses, witnessed rituals, visited sacred grounds and participated in ceremonies all over the little Hindu island. My gratitude for this time period is immense.
After years of solo study and experimentation, I found two guides for this time in my life: In Bali, I sit with a beautiful Lama, trained in Dzogchen Tibetan Buddhism, who continues to give me structure and grounding, and in India, a Mystic who pushes me beyond what I thought was possible and feeds my hunger for wisdom that I can't find in books. Since meeting them my life has changed dramatically yet again. In June 2017, I decided to take another leap. I left The Yoga Barn and Bali, and am currently exploring more of life and how I want to show up for it.
I now know something I've never known before: If I simply give myself space, all that I desire will emerge. There is no more searching, no more reading, no more studying. Everything is already here...within me. And I'm fortunate enough to now be able to give myself that space. I've come to trust that I will be where I need to be, doing what I need to do, exactly when I need to be doing it. Trusting it will lead me to complete Freedom: non-attachment, powerful mastery of my mind & body, joyful celebration.
What I offer to those who are interestedcomes from a place of reflection and understanding that with every person who walks around with a little less wounding the whole world benefits. With authenticity, honesty and fierce compassion, I live from and in my heart and my Truth.
Baba, my teacher, has given me two names: Jnana Janani. In Sanskrit Jnana means wisdom and Janani means Mother: Mother of Wisdom. Miss Patty, my mom, gave me the name Jana...it makes me smile to think that perhaps at some level she knew more than she let on. I used to feel it was pretentious for someone to start using a spiritual name, especially a westerner. I have a different understanding and appreciation of it at this point. I can honestly say I am no longer the Jana that I was for about 46 years. I have evolved beyond what Jana could have imagined. There is a "Jana" essence that will remain and there is another that is emerging. Jnana Janani is a big name to embody. I'm not quite there yet so I haven't fully taken it on, but I'm on my way.
If sharing my journey and all that has come of it can help you in some way on yours, I know we will meet you soon.
*Photo credit: Suki Zoe